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Bill Day responds to claims of plagiarism

Nearly four months after a claim of plagiarism and repurposing old cartoons were leveled at Bill Day, Bill has finally responded with his side of the story.

This is first time I have spoken publicly and given my side. Most of you probably don’t even know it happened. I thank Daryl for this column he has given me, for standing up for me, and I apologize for all the grief it has caused him and his staff. I especially apologize to the fine illustrator whose work I mistakenly thought was real. I would never have used it had I known. I give special thanks to Mike Peters, the only cartoonist, aside from Daryl, who called me.

The piece strikes me as a response still written with a lot of emotion. Some of which is understandable. Nobody likes to be pointed out that their professional practice is unethical or lazy. Bill takes several swipes at the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) – likening it to an organization of high school bullies. While some cartoonists have been very vocal on the allegations both publicly as well as in the organization’s discussion group, I thought the AAEC’s official response was a bit underwhelming. Their statement endorsing originality reads like a doctor endorsing breathing.

While Bill’s version of events might be construed as casting him in the best possible light and critics in the worst, he makes one false claim toward the end thought ought to be called out. He writes:

“In the end, it did all blow over. The Poynter Institute, which investigates journalism ethics looked into it, examined the facts, and dismissed it.”

To my knowledge the institute has not examined this issue in any official or professional capacity. My contacts over at the institute both point to this blog post as the only known mention of the Bill Day allegations and the post is hardly an examination nor a pronouncement of innocence. If there was such an investigation, you’d think Bill would link to it.

With this final word from Bill (I presume it’s the last), we close this chapter. As a side note, a town hall session is being planned for this year’s AAEC convention where members will be able to speak out on what is and isn’t acceptable practice and what kind of standards should be adopted by members within the AAEC. Should be a lively discussion.

Community Comments

#1 Milt Priggee
April/15/2013
@ 7:50 am

One of the strangest episodes of The Twilight Zone I’ve ever witnessed…..

#2 Mike Lester
April/15/2013
@ 8:19 am

This past weekend at the Masters Tiger Woods cheated. Sir Nick Faldo (3 x winner) made the statement that he could have put his entire sordid past behind him by admitting (paraphrasing),

“I f’d up. Sorry. I’m withdrawing to protect the integrity of the game and this event. No excuses. Wont’ happen again.”

It would have been a brilliant PR move. He wasn’t going to win anyway. But he didn’t. He rationalized, eventually became irrelevant, a non-factor and maintained his status as a polarizing cultural figure. But to his credit he didn’t use dead pets / mother in law and the Newtown murders as an excuse.

#3 JP Trostle
April/15/2013
@ 11:30 am

Yeah, “I didn’t do and I’ll never do it again” is not exactly a sterling defense.

#4 Donald Rex Jr.
April/15/2013
@ 4:08 pm

Whats all this then?

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